All posts filed under: Himachal Pradesh

Life in Spiti: A Chance Encounter With Kaza’s Garden Lady.

Over a month long trip, I realized that there’s more to life in Spiti than initially meets the eye. Slow down, and find out for yourself. I sit by a Stupa on an elevation above the shore of the Spiti River, shielding myself from the sun. It’ll be a good fifteen minutes before the ball of fire sinks behind the mountain range and relieves human skins. Such penetrating sun rays would make a great premise for a sunscreen advert, I muse. In the shade of my Stupa, the strong wind feels icy cold and forces me to wear the cowl of my sweatshirt. Life in Spiti is baffling that way. You can be melting under the sun and shivering in the shade, simultaneously. To distract myself from my hot-cold battle, I look towards the only part of Kaza (Spiti’s administrative capital) that is soothingly green. The only crops that can survive the harsh desert climate are barley and peas. Since it’s spring turning into summer, the shores are filled with green grass and yellow barley. Occasionally …

The Legend of Komic Monastery in Spiti.

While in Spiti, I discovered a fascinating legend about the spectacular Komic Monastery and why it is located in the village of Komic. Spiti is a land of legends. Every mountain peak and rock formation has a story lurking behind it, handed down by generations of Spitians. The most fascinating of them is one I heard from a local friend, of a mountain peak which changes colors a few times a day, reflecting the mood of the deity that inhabits it. It takes 3 days to walk to the base of this peak from his village in Linkti, camping at nightfall along the Spiti River… But I digress. The mystery mountain is a story for another day. I’m currently at 4587 metres at Komic, and literally high at what is said to be the highest inhabited village in the Himalayas. As I count the 13 houses in this small village, I try to imagine how people lead such isolated lives. Perhaps a consolation is the Buddhist Monastery at Komic, where lamas (monks) pray and meditate …

Mount Kailash, Kinnaur kailash, kalpa, himalayas, shimla to kalpa

An Incredible Journey from Shimla via Reckong Peo to Kaza.

The drive from Shimla to Reckong Peo to Kaza is exhilarating but not for the faint-hearted. A once-in-a-lifetime experience! I’m en route to Spiti and going through a “sometimes the journey is as beautiful as the destination” moment. The drive from Shimla to Reckong Peo to Kaza – with a stopover at Kalpa – easily claims Himachal Pradesh to be the most beautiful state in India for a mountain lover. I watch the mighty Himalayas blanketed in Cedar trees for the first quarter of the journey. The landscape transforms to pine trees, until the mountains gradually become bare. I catch a glimpse of the River Satluj flowing below in a stream of clear white water. It gradually reduces to a blue-green trickle in the mountains. Then it meets the dam under construction in the Rampur district and changes to a disheartening brown. The winding road from Rampur to Kinnaur has been dug from the base of the mountains, leaving their rocky protrusions untouched. I’m stunned as I drive under these protrusions. It’s as though the Himalayas …